The Management of Salala Rubber Corporation or SRC in Margibi County District Five engages community residents mainly beneficiaries of its operation through meetings.
The engagement is a normal routine as part of the company’s social corporate responsibility, usually held with local authorities, towns and villages that are found within the operational areas of the SRC.
Commissioners, paramount and clan chiefs, general town chiefs, town chiefs, management, workers union and citizens from about 50 towns and villages recently convened at the SRC Central School in Camp #4.
Speaking to reporters following the meeting, SRC Public Relations Manager Lewis Shilling, explains that the purpose of the meeting is to acquaint with the citizens and make them understand that both company and residents need each other.
He says when there are issues; the best way to solve them is to dialogue with the people, adding that this is also the rationale behind the meeting. Mr. Lewis Shilling: “The purpose of this gathering is for us to know our people, let them know us because there have been a lot going on around here and we want them to feel that as a company, we need them, they need us. When there are issues the best way for us to solve [them] is for us to sit and discuss so these are some of the issues actually we thought it wise to have this meeting, to educate them on. We’ve been doing it, it is not something new, it is our social corporate responsibility; we’ve been doing it to the letter, but it appears as if there are other new people coming into the community who don’t know the genesis of all these things”, he notes.
He added that they are going to be robust and will be reaching out to the communities on a monthly basis to ensure that they do more of what they have been doing for the people.
However, Mr. Shilling adds that though there are some constraints, but there are still rooms in their budget to do more for the locals. The SRC Public Relations Manager continues that there are some issues mainly with land that dates as far back as the 1950s which some people are still bringing back to the company.
According to him, there are records on people who were paid for the land and their photos attached to documents of agreement with the company. Some of the people making complaints personally want money to be paid to them, he notes but adds that they have always told the people that they are interested in working with them to bring development.
Also speaking during the meeting, the General Manager of the SRC Alupay Shinid, says the objective of the meeting is to allow the locals know the company and make them understand that SRC is not their enemies. The MD calls on the residents to collaborate with the company to bring about mutual understanding in their relationship.
He says SRC will work very hard as a company to cover all towns and villages that have concerns and would work with them to understand their needs and priorities as well as implement projects that are required.
Meanwhile, some of the villagers who made remarks during the meeting thank the SRC management for its activities but express concerns about alleged excesses by the company.
By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi-Editing by Jonathan Browne